Category Archives: Recipes

Rearranging Furniture and Stuffed Burgers

Stuffed Burger Final

I’ve been wanting to find a way to leave Bixby out of his crate more often when I’m out of the house for short periods of times. He’s been doing very well when I’ve left him, but I’m always worried, not so much for anything in the house, but because of the plate glass window. He’s not the most coordinated dog and several times he’s bumped it so hard I worried it would break. So I am reluctant.

Last night I had an inspiration and spent this afternoon rearranging my living room and office to make the window less accessible. Bixby’s response to all the hub-bub? To race around in circles like a wild thing, clearly not realizing how big he is and almost took out an entire bookcase.  At least it wasn’t the computer.

All the activity meant there needed to be something substantial for dinner. I have some amazingly creamy, sharp goat cheese and I thought it would be perfect in my Stuffed Burgers, recipe here. Always good, the cheese was perfect and tonight served on lettuce wraps. Yummy.

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Monday: Playing Hooky to Lunch with Friends and a Recipe

Bixby 7 27 15I was hoping to get a picture of Bixby with LFern’s mom, Miyako, who stands all of five foot tall, but I couldn’t figure out a way to do it without endangering her. Bixby was much too happy to see his company. Meanwhile, an out of town visit from anyone’s mom is a good enough excuse to play hooky, go to lunch and follow that up with ice cream. I actually did get some work done today, but there will be a couple of long days to make up for the rest. It was worth it.

summer pasta salad

JeffreyW puts together an easy pasta salad: fresh veggies, cold pasta and tossed with oil and vinegar.

I have a little different version, a Greek Pasta Salad (recipe here) with black olives and feta cheese. Perfect quick dinner on a hot night. That’s the great thing about pasta salads, you can mix it up and create a different meal easily.

We are suppose to cool off a bit later in the week but I’m still thinking I’ll keep the meals light and cool. And cold pasta salads are great for that.



Roasted Tomato Sauce

DSC_0666 (1600x1060)I look forward to making this dish every year when the little tomatoes come in strong.  We have grape tomatoes this year instead of the cherry variety but they are much the same thing.  I saw this recipe where the tomatoes were roasted in the oven before they were mixed with the usual herbs and garlic and went with that method today.  I think it worked very well.

Recipe Exchange: Best Served Cold

Watermelon salad  final

With July heat in full swing and the dog days of August coming up, I thought cold recipes would be a good idea for tonight’s recipe exchange. It made working in the kitchen much more appealing this week and I managed to try out a couple of new recipes and do some actual blog posting.

To get things started, Monday was house hunting and one of my new summer favorites, Jicama Slaw, surprisingly sweet and creamy, click here.

Tuesday was notes on the kittehs and Key Lime Bars, which I made to satisfy an intense craving for a cold, tart, citrus dessert, read here.

Wednesday I played with making my first Granita, I chose watermelon, but there are many other flavor combinations for this easy, cold treat. Recipe here.

The dinner menu this week was Grilled Chicken Salad and Green Beans in Vinaigrette.  Complete menu, recipes and shopping list are here.

For the pet lovers, there’s a Bixby Diary update.

Well, that was my week, how was yours? When it’s too hot to cook, what’s your go-to for dinner?

For tonight’s featured recipe, I was looking for a fresh salad idea and a friend was travelling through Italy and posted photos of an unusual salad, complete with recipe (in Italian) on Facebook. It looked good, so I decided to try it. Here’s my version.

Watermelon-Cucumber Salad

I chose to use mint because it’s what I had handy, but I’ve seen it with basil or oregano and white wine vinegar instead of limejuice. For a spicier version, try limejuice and Pico de Gallo

  • 4 cups cubed seedless watermelon
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced (if using unwaxed, no need to peel)
  • 2 tbsp limejuice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • mint leaves, torn into small pieces
  • Pecorino Romano, feta or other similar cheese, cut into small chunks or crumbled

serving bowl

Add watermelon and cucumber to a serving bowl, drizzle with limejuice and oil, add mint leaves, then toss to combine. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes, sprinkle with cheese just before serving cold.

That’s it for this week, have a great weekend and try and stay cool – TaMara

 

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Dinner Menu: Chicken Salad and Green Beans in Vinaigrette

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JeffreyW’s Green Bean Salad

You can prepare all of this a day ahead of time for an easy and tasty picnic. And if it’s a party, they’re easy to double.

On the board tonight:

  1. Marinated Chicken Salad
  2. Sub Rolls
  3. Green Bean Salad
  4. Sliced Peaches

Chicken Salad

Chicken: (Marinate overnight)

  • ¼ cup dill juice
  • 3 tbsp Dijon or stone ground mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts

Mix together ingredients and marinate overnight. Remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade. Grill or broil chicken and cool completely, then cut into small cubes or run through a food processor.

Salad:

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped dill pickles
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded & chopped
  • ¼ cup salad dressing or mayonnaise (more as needed)
  • 2 tsp Dijon or stone ground mustard

bowl

In bowl, mix cubed chicken with ingredients, blending well. Serve on sub rolls.  Serves 6 easily

JeffreyW’s Green Bean Salad (pictured above) – recipe here.

Shopping List:

  • Sub rolls (I like the miniature ones myself)
  • 1 lb fresh green beans, cherry tomatoes
  • white wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • Dill pickles
  • Dijon or stone ground mustard
  • Garlic paste
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 jalapeño
  • Salt & pepper
  • Peaches

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The Art of Granita

Watermelon Granita

Relaxing after a long, busy day, watching Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing. I’m a sucker for anything Whedon, well, except Dollhouse, which I bailed on after the first few months. The locusts are competing for my attention, singing their late summer song. They always bring back childhood memories of sitting on the porch swing, reading a book in the evening, trying to stay cool.

Went out to dinner with friends earlier and told them I made Watermelon Granita and their response was similar to mine, watermelon is perfect on its own, why mess with it? Why indeed? Partly because it is so pretty, partly because it is nice to have something cold, not too sweet and easy to make during the heat of summer. Granitas can be made with many flavors, I just happened to have a large seedless watermelon on hand this week.

Strawberries, lemons, oranges, a mix of berries, even coffee can be made into granita. Just substitute for the watermelon in the recipe below. Perfect, light and a burst of sophisticated flavor to top off any meal.

Watermelon Granita

  • 4 cups seedless watermelon, cut into large chunks
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
  • fresh limejuice from 1 large lime or 2 small limes
  • dash of lime zest
  • mint leaves for garnish

blender, shallow dish

Blend together the ingredients (except mint) until smooth. Start with 1/4 cup sugar and add more as desired. 1/2 cup is the standard recipe, but I preferred less to let the watermelon shine through.

Pour into a shallow dish and place in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove and with a fork, scrape the mixture into small ice crystals. Place back into the freezer for another hour and repeat scraping. Freeze for additional hour, scrape again and serve with mint garnish. You can also top with fresh blueberries for a very pretty dessert.

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Pizza Pr0n – Margherita

DSC_0658 (1600x1060)I let my bread machine do the dough for this one while we were making a quick store run.  I knew I wanted a thin crust so I made a half recipe from here.  They were out of the mozzarella pearls I wanted so I made do with slices.  The tomatoes are a grape variety that I halved and cored with a spoon to leave just the shell.  I’m a big fan of what they would term “meat lover’s pizza” – several different meat toppings and mushrooms and olives and onions and on and on, but these minimalist types are really very good.DSC_0655 (1600x1060)I usually add the fresh basil after these come out of the oven so that it doesn’t turn black and crispy but I’ve seen them made that way, pretty sure there isn’t a rule about it.

Critters Do Crazy Things and a Recipe

Alas I have no pie photos, but I do have Key Lime Bars.

I was shopping the other day and found myself wandering through the cookie aisle. I really wanted something lemon or lime, but couldn’t find anything that fit the craving. Probably because these Key Lime Bars are difficult to beat. They’re simple enough to make and really hit the spot when you want something cold and tart. You can find the recipe here.

I'm in black and white to look classy, how am I doing?

Kitteh update. They are doing well and have grown accustomed to Bixby. Everyone has their own routine with him. Jake (above) has just started to take him on by standing his ground and daring the Beast to invade his space. It took him a while to come out of his shell after Missy died, but the last few weeks he’s more his old self.

hypervibe

I have a vibration plate that I use every day. It sits between the cat tree and a shelf that serves as a cat perch. Jake and Zander have decided the time working out is a good time for a scritch and perch on either side of me. It doesn’t matter that I am actually working out, they make their demands known and woe to me if I ignore them.

One day, I picked Jake up and held him while the plate was on. He clearly liked it. The next day when I plugged the machine in, he jumped up on the plate. Human nature dictated that I must turn the machine on, at it’s lowest setting. I assumed he’d jump right off, but I was wrong. He stood on it and rubbed against the cat tree and thoroughly enjoyed it. It lasted for two minutes and then he was off on his way. Every once in a while, he again jumps on and I turn the machine on. I’ve up the speed a bit…the higher it goes, the smoother the vibration. I now have to limit him to five minutes, because I think he would stay on the full ten minutes if I let him.

Jake  Ahem

I keep thinking I’ll get video, but I’m guessing the moment I pick up the camera, he’d be off and throwing me a dirty look. No patience for paparazzi.

I have all the ingredients for the Jicama Slaw and I’ll put it together tomorrow. Today I made a granita and I’ll post photos and recipe tomorrow. Until then…. TaMara

Monday Thoughts: House Hunting and Recipes

Jicama Slaw FinalI just put jicama on the grocery list and I plan on making Jicama Slaw (recipe here), perfect for late summer heat. And it makes 6 to 10 servings, so I’ll have it on hand for the week. I can’t complain too much about the heat, because as far as Colorado summers go, this one has been pleasantly mild. Late afternoon showers keep things from heating up too much.

Rainy Weekend

I wanted to talk a bit about house hunting. I know it must seem like I’ve been shopping forever (trust me, it feels that way to me, too). Timing is everything. I started my own business four years ago and two years ago it became my full-time gig. Once that happened, I clearly needed more room as I worked at my home “office” 3 to 4 days a week. I ventured out into the market right at the time things heated up to bubble status. Houses are selling at a ridiculous amount over list.

Luckily, I have great clients, two who are actually custom home builders and one who is a financial whiz. They’ve been very helpful and confirmed my own intuition. I’m taking their advice, waiting out the bubble and trying to find my patience, both for myself and the critters. We all need more room to stretch out and we will find it.

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NOT my actual kitchen LOL

But in the meantime…ugh my kitchen. It’s just unworkable, especially for blogging and photos. No light, cramped space, crappy stove. I’ve been living on salads and diet Coke all summer. I do have a backlog of recipes that I will just have to start posting, sans photos.

And when we do move, then not only can we celebrate, but there should be some fun as I document the inevitable upgrades.

Until then….TaMara

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Tidbits

DSC_0638 (1600x1060)Mmm… thick slab of ham with a fancy redeye gravy.  The home fries were cooked in duck fat and were fantastic.  The gravy was developed for a chicken fried steak dish but I went with it on the ham despite it being maybe over the top because it has diced ham and bacon in it.  It would be fine for biscuits or mashed potatoes.DSC02601 (1600x1200)

Kittehs!  This momma cat and her 10 kittens were abandoned in a parking lot in 95 degree weather.  A good Samaritan brought them in to the shelter before the heat got to them but the mother cat was in some distress.  She’s fine now, or as fine as a busy momma can be with 10 youngsters to feed.20150718_151002[1] (1600x1060)Buns, fresh from the oven and brushed with melted butter.  I’m getting better at shaping these things but it’ll be a while before I can claim real expertise.DSC_0646 (1600x1060)Mojo chicken with a mojo dipping sauce.  It’s a half cup each of sour orange juice and olive oil, with plenty of minced garlic, a couple tablespoons of white vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.  In the background is a variation on the classic Cuban black beans and rice – I added tomato bits and fresh corn to the beans.IMG_3025 (1600x1200)Mrs J left a cat bed and a few pet cage pads out.  Most of her output goes to St Francis but she offers them around to other local shelters and they are usually happy to have them.DSC_0642 (1600x1060)I keep a jar of refrigerator pickling brine on hand to use up some of the peppers the patio container garden is producing.  Whenever I cut up an onion I toss the excess in with the peppers and it works great as a topping for the occasional hamburger.DSC_5298 (1600x1060)

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